Only On CBS2: Parents Pleading For Help To Save North Jersey Center For Adults With Developmental Disabilities

A North Jersey center for adults with developmental disabilities is in danger of closing, and parents are pleading for help; CBS2's Lisa Rozner reports.

Video Transcript

- A plea from parents of kids with developmental disabilities. Their sons and daughters are adults who for decades have learned a great deal at a special center in North Jersey. Well now that center is in danger of closing. CBS News' Lisa Rozner is in Passaic County with the story you'll only see on 2.

LISA ROZNER: Melissa Cristiana loves shopping, a skill she picked up from the staff at the adult center at the North Jersey Elks Developmental? Disabilities Agency in Clifton.

BETTY BRARMAN: Even though she's 44, she just keeps learning.

SUSAN RANUCCI: Well she's become over the years quite social and quite verbal.

LISA ROZNER: But it's been Zoom only for Melissa. Since November, centers like this closed down. Buses parked, half the staff laid off. The nonprofit serves around 50 adults from 21 to 70 years old and relies heavily on Medicaid and state funding.

WILLIAM WEISS: Though the state has been giving us approximately 50% of what we would normally take in to maintain some staff in order to do online trainings.

BETTY BRARMAN: We were devastated. And we didn't know what to do.

LISA ROZNER: Betty helped start an online fundraiser to fill the gaps so the center can survive. Susan Nicastro's 33-year-old son Anthony has gone here for 11 years. She says without it, he'll likely be out of luck to find another. She says this rare place provides all therapies and life skills, even helping others creating pouches for people in need.

SUSAN NICASTRO: Our son loves to go there. He claps his hands when we drive in the parking lot. They're just so loving there.

LYNNE HEWITT-DELOHERY: It's been a very big learning experience. It's been very emotional.

LISA ROZNER: For now, the center is waiting for word from the state to reopen March 29. That will depend on the county COVID numbers. Parents just pray the center makes it to next year.

BETTY BRARMAN: As I can do so much, you know, I just don't want her to lose what she has.

LISA ROZNER: The parents say their children have had so many doors close on them in life, they just want to keep this one open. In Clifton, New Jersey, Lisa Rozner CBS2 News.

- The Elks Club is also planning to hold fundraisers this spring. For more information and ways you can help, head to our website, cbsnewyork.com.